HICHILEMA ON A SELF-RUINOUS PATH- Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

5
HICHILEMA ON A SELF-RUINOUS PATH- Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
HICHILEMA ON A SELF-RUINOUS PATH- Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

Africa-Press – Zambia. The UPND government is clearly on a self-ruinous path and President Hakainde Hichilema is determined to make enemies, out of key and well-meaning stakeholders.

They have called “Lucifer”, the foremost leader of the Catholic Church in Zambia.

UPND Secretary General, Batuke Imenda, called the Archbishop of Lusaka, the Most Reverend, Archbishop Dr.Alick Banda, a Lucifer!

And using State House rogue media, proceeded to publish scurilous and vile attacks against Archbishop Banda.

What is surprising is the failure by President Hichilema to distance himself or the Party from those derogatory and insulting remarks, or let alone apologise as a leader.

In its pastoral letter issued in November,2023, the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), in bemoaning the shrinking democratic space and the rise of an autocratic and dictatorship government, called, among other things, for President Hichilema to apologize to the Church for Imenda’s vile remarks against Archbishop Banda.

The Conference also called on President Hichilema to close his rogue social-media sites.

Hichilema’s rogue and guerilla media could have been useful whilst or could be excused when he was in Opposition but is clearly unacceptable now as he is President of the Republic of Zambia who had sworn to protect and uphold the Constitution and seek to prevent the abuse of citizens by state institutions or his party’s or personal infrastructure.

He has refused to apologise or take action against Imenda’s insults against the Church, and he has instead put, on steroid, his rogue media against his critics and his perceived political enemies.

Also added on to this are the attacks, especially from President Hichilema’s social-media “praise singers”, on Men of God such as Emeritus Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu. The social-media attacks have been escalated without reprimand or guidance from President Hichilema to his followers.

This shows that he approves or is personally sheperding this kind of dirty and divisive politics.

The recent police call-out issued to a catholic priest from the Order of Friars Minor, or the Franciscans, Fr. Andrew Chewe Mukosa, is a clear abuse of law enforcement agencies to intimidate, cause fear and instil self-censorship on members of the Clergy that are speaking for the poor, the marginalised and those speaking truth to power.

Fr. Mukosa merely spoke against ZESCO’s crippling load-shedding, youth unemployment, and the high prevalent of poverty. Fr Mukosa also called on political leaders to fulfill their campaign promises.

What wrong has the priest done by this action or remarks?

We also note earlier threats and acts of intimidation that were issued against Fr. Anthony Kapambwe Salangeta of Chawama Parish, the very attacks that caused Archbishop Banda to defend his priest.

MY PERSONAL EXPEREINCE WITH THE CHURCH

Let me give two examples I encountered with the Church and what we did to help resolve them.

When I was transferred to Eastern Province as Permanent Secretary in November 2013, I was confronted with a serious matter raised by the Catholic Church.

Usually when I arrived in a new station, I engaged stakeholders in the area; the traditional authorities, communities, civil society and the Church in all its forms.

Concerns from the catholic church was the issue of the distribution of farming inputs under the FISP and the recent deportation of a Lundazi Catholic Parish Priest, a rwandese native, Fr Viateur Banyangandora.

In August 2013, the Immigration Department deported Fr Banyangandora for allegedly inciting the community in Lundazi to allegedly rise against the Zambian Government.

On 7th August 2013, a special pastoral Statement to Catholics on the deportation, by the Zambian Government, of Fr. Viateur Banyangandora to Rwanda, was issued.

When I checked the facts, Fr. Banyangandora’s deporteation was clearly an abuse of power as he was merely voicing out, in his sermons, concerns on the need for development in the area, the poor state of trunk roads to Isoka and Chipata, lack of bridges and the failure to distribute, timely, farming inputs.

It was clear that Fr. Banyangandora was merely exercising his prophetic role and ministry as any Catholic priest would.

I engaged, relentlessly, both the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Edgar Lungu and President Michael Sata on this matter.

I must hasten that the Zambia Episcopal Conference and Chipata Diocese were actively on the case.

During my courtesy call on Rt. Rev. George Cosmas Zumaile Lungu, Bishop of Chipata Diocese, expressed concern about this matter.

The Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) had already confronted President Sata against this unfair deportation.

In this matter I joined the Church leadership in voicing out the concerns on the deplorable action by my own government.

We received good news. The deportation was revoked and Fr Viateur Banyangandora was allowed to return home to his parish in Lundazi after four months of being away. He was received in Chipata on 12th January 2013.

When I was transfered to Western Province,as usual, I embarked on stakeholder engagement including the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Church.

Catholic Bishop Evans Chinyama Chinyemba of Mongu Diocese had issued a statement of concern on barotse youths agitating for restoration of the Barosteland Agreement, who were allegedly beaten, tortured and detained. He also stated that some youths were feared missing.

This matter was so serious that I sought an appointment with Bishop Chinyemba.

I went to the meeting with the entire Provincial Joint Operations Committee (PJOC), heads of defence and security at provincial level.

The PJOC also brought along an official list of all persons that were arrested or detained.

This action brought immense relief to the Church and the families affected.

Further the PJOC pledged that in future actions, any stakeholder including the church, could simply approach them on any person of concern or interest who they suspected was detained in connection with this highly sensitive matter.

CONCLUSION

The Church has an established ecclesiastical calling and prophetic role it plays in the governance of our country.

In the case of the Catholic Church and its Social Teachings, it will fight that people live a meaningful life and are fulfilled in their community and family. The Church has stated that it has a responsibility to participate in society and to promote the common good, and will defend especially the poor, the marginalised and vulnerable.

Government must therefore treat the Church as its partner in development, and desist in regarding it as a hostile political enemy.

If President Hichilema continues on this hostile path against the Church and other stakeholders in governance issues, it is only his downfall we shall wait and witness.

For More News And Analysis About Zambia Follow Africa-Press

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here